I Love You Just Enough

While pulling weeds and planting seeds with her dad on Hazel Ridge Farm's prairie, Heather discovers a wood duckling alone in the grass. Worried for the duckling's safety, Heather asks her dad if she can care for him. "You have to keep him safe and warm and fed. You have to teach him how to be a duck--to swim, to hunt for bugs, and how to fly." Aptly named Mr. Peet for his chirping sound, the ducking accompanies Heather as she feeds the chickens, rabbits, and horses. They spend the summer swimming together in the pond, and Mr. Peet eventually masters how to fly. Heather becomes concerned when she hasn't seen Mr. Peet in 10 days. Her dad reassures her that the wood duck may have found his own place in nature. Heather is proud of her work and she knows Mr. Peet will be ok, because she loved him just enough.

Format List Price Your Price Qty
$16.95 $16.95
$28.95 $28.95
Interest Level Grade 1 - Grade 4
Reading Level Grade 3
Dewey E
Lexile 580
ATOS Reading Level 3.7
Guided Reading Level M
Language English
Publisher Sleeping Bear Press
Available Formats Hardcover (9781585368396), PDF (9781627537278), Hosted ebook (9781627537483)
Copyright 2014
Number of Pages 40, 32
Dimensions 9 x 11
Graphics Full-color illustrations
  • 2016 - 2017 MASL Readers Awards Final Nominee, Short-listed, 2016
  • 2014 Creative Child Award - Book of the Year Kids Books Category, Winner, 2014

School Library Journal - I Love You Just Enough

When her bus drops her off to begin her summer vacation, Heather is overjoyed with the promise of new adventures. While helping her dad weed the garden, she discovers a baby duckling. She begs to adopt the little fluff ball, but her father warns her about the responsibilities of raising a wild animal, particularly the difficulty of letting the duck return to its natural habitat when the time comes. The title reflects his caution that Heather can love the bird but not too much. In a gentle, compassionate voice, the text details the work and joys of protecting and caring for a wild animal. The soft oil illustrations depict idyllic farm life and bucolic splendor, with changing artistic perspectives often focusing on small details made large. This book would be useful as a departure point for discussions about the animal life cycle, relationships among species, taking responsibility, and letting go.–Mary Hazelton, formerly at Warren & Waldoboro Elementary Schools, ME

I Love You Just Enough

It’s hard to love just enough to let go….
Based on their experiences running a wildlife refuge, the author-and-illustrator team brings forth a satisfying tale of their daughter’s temporary adoption of an abandoned wild wood duck. “The hardest thing you will have to do is not to love him too much,” Dad explains when Heather finds the tiny chick she names Mr. Peet. “His true family should be with other ducks. Saying goodbye will be hard.” Plaintive, descriptive text and colorful, painterly pictures highlight Heather’s evident fondness for Mr. Peet as she cares for him, feeds him, plays with him and teaches him what he needs to know to go back into the wild. When the time comes for Mr. Peet to separate himself and eventually take leave of his human family, it isn’t easy for Heather at all, but she finds comfort in what she’s done. With support from her father, she feels proud of her accomplishments. Though the telling of the tale is sometimes a bit clunky, readers will step away with a new understanding of animals and conservation. An author’s note discusses life at the animal refuge and the imperative that wild animals remain in the wild.
Animal lovers will enjoy this straightforward tale with an important message meant to be shared. (Picture book. 5-8)

Author: Robbyn Smith van Frankenhuyzen

Robbyn has dedicated much of her life to caring for animals. As a youngster she brought orphan animals home to mend and, as an adult, folks delivered them to her doorstep. Growing up as the middle child in a household with six sisters, she became the "entertainer." Her elaborate and theatrical storytelling was her way of standing out in a crowd and finding her own voice. Her parents encouraged her to make her hobby her career, so with that in mind she attended Michigan State University and became an animal technician where she continued to care for animals. She met her illustrator husband Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen at the clinic where she worked. Together they share a mutual love of nature.Nature journaling is a part of their daily lives and an enjoyable way to document all the special animals that have been a part of their lives. The Hazel Ridge series introduces readers to their farm and their true animal tales.Today, Robbyn visits schools, zoos and nature centers sharing with children and adults the value of journaling, the joy of storytelling and the importance of protecting our natural world.

Illustrator: Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen

Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen was born in the Netherlands in 1951. With his seven brothers and sisters, he grew up exploring nature and his sketch pads were filled with observations from those family outings. Always drawing as a young boy, his father encouraged Gijsbert to make art his career. After high school, he attended and graduated from the Royal Academy of Arts in Arnhem, Holland. Gijsbert, or "Mr. Nick" as many children affectionately call him during his school visits, immigrated to the United States in 1976 and worked as Art Director for the Michigan Natural Resources Magazine for 17 years. In 1995, he illustrated his first children's book, The Legend of Sleeping Bear, finally fullfilling his dream of illustrating children's books.Residing in Bath, Michigan, Nick and his family share their 40-acre farm with sheep, horses, dogs, cats, turkeys, rabbits, chickens, pigeons and a revolving door of orphaned and injured wild life. The family's nature journals logged 20 years of wild life rehabilitation on the farm and it is through these journals that the popular Hazel Ridge series was created. The farm, the land and the animals make great subjects for the artist to paint. Mr. Nick travels to schools and conferences to share his passion for drawing—encouraging kids to make their hobby their career.